Blogtails

  • Here's why Good Times at Davey Wayne's is 'THAT' 70s bar

    Two words: funking groovy! Every night is a boogie night at the Houston brothers’ 1970s themed bar where you’ll be saying, “oh what a night”, every night, guaranteed. 

    Want to know what’s going on at Good Times at Davey Wayne’s where you won’t stop ‘til you get enough? (Obviously I’m compelled to include copious, ingeniously placed 1970s song references.) Stay with me here.

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    Our House is a very, very, very fun house

    I’ll set the scene: it’s one of those 2014 1970s Hollywood Nights. You and your corduroy are ready for a raging, shagadelic house party (that’s also one cool cat of a time warp.) The smell of MJ is wafting from a garage on El Centro and beckoning you to swing by this Swingtown bar.

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    (The) Who wants a Bargain?  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)


    Start by grooving through the elaborate façade of a vintage garage sale, (curated by Christian Marcus of No Vacancy’s ‘Gentleman Proper’ shop), where everything’s marked at garage sale prices and haggling is encouraged. Peruse the laudable collection of nostalgic 1970s accouterments; you’ll find clothes, candy bars, vinyl, toys and maybe even a pair or roller skates, (always good for a spot of glass rooftop skating should the need arise).

    After you’ve trinketed your little heart out you’ll be wondering where funk you can get a drink. Obviously you’ll walk this way to the back of the garage and open the Smeg fridge door, (because that’s what thirsty people do.) This is when you’ll realize it’s the inconspicuous entrance to the bar. This is rather, well, cool.

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    The chills are multiplying…  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)

    Once inside you’ll boogie through several rooms decked out with carpet, shag rugs, striped couches, and a rock-clad wall surrounding a faux-brick fireplace that’s reminiscent of your acid-tripping parents’ house in the 1970s. Everything has been seductively curated to make you want bang a gong, (or something else), should the opportunity arise. 


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    Livin’ (room) for the city  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)


    Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is Mark and Jonnie’s tribute to their late father, David Wayne Houston, and nostalgic mementos of his life are secreted throughout the bar. The brothers have made this bar a real family affair with vintage family photos hung on wood paneled walls and pinned to cork boards.

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    Hall-right now.   (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)

    Good Times at Davey Wayne’s feels like your parents left town for the weekend leaving you to booze, boogie, babes and Bad Company. You can go your own way through various rooms and sitting areas, and dance by a small stage where a live band plays 70s hits. 

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    Let’s get hit on  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)


    After some dancing and jive talking you’ll head to the bar for some stiff, sweet libations with names like Some People Call Me Maurice, Tiny Dancer and Cisco Kid. If you’re feeling more hop than scotch then there are eight beer taps, installed in a fabricated refrigerator door, and beers are served in #1 Dad mugs.

    Just know that if you like pina colada, or any other kind of hookup, the bar all is set up for your imbibing pleasure. 


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    Just another Tequila Sunrise  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)

    Even the cocktail menu, a plastic-sleeved photo album, contains 1970s-era Houston family photos in between descriptions of the cocktails.

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    Are you reelin’ in the beers?  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)

    Be sure to eye up the far out collection of retro soda cans should you need something that tastes just like cherry cola…

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    Canned Heat  (Photo credit: Frank Ishman)


    If you fancy some dancin’ in the moonlight then head to backyard where an Airstream trailer bar serves ice-cool alcoholic sno-cones. Perhaps some alcoholic POPsicles would be a cool idea to keep patriarchal homage alive and kicking. 

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    Had a Roof of Glass


    After deep-throating your sno-cone, look up to the glass roof where roller skating performers jump through hoops as they play that funky music. Should all this razzle dazzle make you peckish there’s classic backyard bbq fare on hand to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.

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    The grooviest place to hang, literally. 


    Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is the only Houston bar that’s open in daylight hours and many of them are happy ones: Mon-Fri 4pm-8pm and Sat-Sun from 2pm-6pm. 

    We think that the Houston’s latest rad-venture is a groovefest that’ll psyche you out time and again.  Oh yes, it’s safe to say, the boys are back in town.


    Visit Good Times at Davey Wayne’s:

    1611 N. El Centro Avenue

    Los Angeles, CA 90038

    www.underraidar.com/daveywaynes

    For more secret bars visit www.underraidar.com

  • It's Anniversaire Deux at Pour Vous!

    It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 2 years since the Houston brothers opened Pour Vous - L.A.’s first only Parisian évasion. Under Raidar would never pass up a liquor-fuelled fête and last week we went, glass in hand, to celebrate their second anniversaire!

    Pour Vous is a ritzy Parisian milieu that we describe as ‘bar excellence’. For two years it has remained L.A’s pièce de’ résistance. And yes, it is hard to resist.

    Patrons flock to Pour Vous to imbibe boissons artisanales and hang, with suspended suspense, for La Femme Pour Vous - their acrobatic show of risqué proportions. Last week we got to see the launch of the new show which has been taken to, quite literally, new heights. 

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    The right way to pour champagne at Pour Vous.


    The celebratory night began with a champagne moon pour in the dome (because there are worse ways to start an evening). How the lady didn’t get dizzy from pouring while spinning is beyond me, but it was very impressive!

    From the domed skylight a sexy, aerialist dancer was pirouetting and gyrating on a trapeze while performing other cunning stunts. We loved all the surprising new twists and turns which are now in, dare we say it, full swing. 

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    The view never gets vieux (old)

    After popping our jaws back into place we hot-footed it to the bar for head bartender, Francois Vera’s, cocktail menu première. We found Francois’ sophomore cocktail compendium to be on par (excellence) with his debut menu which we reviewed recently.

    We’ve always highly respected and admired Francois’ mastery of inventing superior cocktails. He’s a visionary bartender who isn’t scared to use ingredients that go against the grain. We think that this new cocktail list further affirms his status as one of the industry’s most highly distinguished bartenders. Oh and he’s also a really great, humble guy which always makes the drinks taste even better!
     
    So, after trying all of the new cocktails, (for research purposes), we have officially crowned the menu as Francois’ ‘tour de force’. Pardon my French but, as a Brit, it’s probably more fitting to say that it’s his ‘encore blimey!’ 


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    ‘Moulin Rouge’ and 'Puff Puff Pastis’ remain on the new menu

    We loved the ’ Marseille Can You See’ (Jim Meehan from PDT/NYC) with Banks golden rum, Noilly Prat amber vermouth, benedictine, Miracle Mile celery bitters.


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    Marseille might not see after a few of these

    Stop mom worrying that you’re not getting all your vits n’ mins because La Vitamine (im)pressingly packs 6 vital essentials like Avuá Cachaça, creme de banane, lime juice, orgeat, avocado and salt. You’ll want to order a few of these to keep the health kick going; you can always juice in the morning!

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    L’Vitamine - drink your greens!      (Photo by Frank Ishman)

    We ended the anniversary shindig, as one does, in the outdoor trolley drinking and scarfing down delicious crepes. How the night actually ended is still a mystery but that’s usually a good sign. When I woke up the next morning my health kick had most definitely kicked me in the ooh-la-las. Time for a poils du chien perhaps?

    So it’s a happy déjà deux to Pour Vous from Under Raidar and we look forward to the next round of pours for many years to come. 

    Visit Pour Vous at:

    5574 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    (323) 871-8699

    www.underraidar.com/pourvous

  • For Speakeasy Twists & Turns Just Enter Lock & Key

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    L.A.’s burgeoning speakeasy bar scene is becoming rather ubiquitous and, in more recent years, it’s been roaring louder than the Roaring 20s. In a city the size of L.A., with a high-level mixology culture, it’s only a handful of niche bars that reign supreme. New players aren’t given much time or space to prove they can cut the mustard in the speakeasy bar stakes.

    As your Splifficated Specialists, (or speakeasy bar aficionados for those of you who aren’t up on your 1920s lingo), we always await ‘the revisit’. The hope is that the new bar has meritoriously secured a worthy stature in the upper echelons of prohibition bar prestige. So, with an invitation to sip like scofflaws, and try their new cocktail offerings, we revisited Koreatown’s Lock & Key. Lockily (yes I said lockily), in less than a year, they’re still holding the keys to a magical speakeasy kingdom.

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    Turn Right. Turn left. Don’t make a wrong turn.

    For speakeasy bars like Lock & Key to be bone fide it means being inconspicuous; just look for an unmarked red door adjacent to food window Stall 239. Then knock to enter an incongruous Victorian antechamber that’s governed by a striking black wall of multiple antique doorknobs and keys. Just use guesswork to select the right doorknob and enter the bedazzling booze palace. Go on, have a turn.

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    Bedazzling Booze Babylon

    We first visited Lock & Key in March 2013 when they unlocked their doors to reveal a swanky speakeasy space - think Alice In Wonderland meets The Great Gatsby. Situated on Vermont Avenue and 3rd, in a rather low-key locale, they have solidified themselves as the speakeasy bar in a pocket of rapid gentrification. You’ll completely forget you just stepped off that stretch of Vermont Avenue by 3rd Street.

    Step inside to an opulent 1920’s style bar with lots black and green which is illuminated by brass and beams of golden light. With hunter green cowboy style cushioned barstools, reclaimed dark wood, Calacatta marble walls and intimate forest green booths, the interior is clearly cut from a finer cloth.

    The key player in their success is cocktail sommelier, Christope Namer, (formerly Grey Goose’s brand attache), who crafts fresh twists on classic prohibition-era libations. Christophe’s alchemistic acclaim is verified by Lock & Key’s drinks list, which tends to be on the sweeter side, defying the rather harsh current of some mixology menus in town.


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    Blood & Sand. Rum Old-Fashioned

    We were thrilled inebriated as we managed to try 80% of the cocktails on the list. 80% proof is what later ensued but that’s another story. Since they opened, we’ve been fans of their signatures like The Torpedo, (pear vodka, pear nectar, lemon juice, egg white, maple syrup grade b, fresh ginger juice, black pepper, toasted sesame seed oils), and The Grape Gatsby, (cognac, walnut liqueur, sherry, lemon juice, demerara syrup, egg white, red grapes, nutmeg), as well as classics like their Rum Old Fashioned and Blood & Sand. It’s great that they’ve expanded their selection with worthy additions.


    Their selection of new libations are twists on classics like the Beau Carré (a take on southern classic Vieux Carré), with bourbon instead of rye whiskey, and with cognac, yellow chartreuse, benedictine, angostura bitters and lemon peel.

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    Lock & Key’s Cocktail Men-new

    The other half of Under Raidar was in liquid-love with the Strawberry Mule (vodka, strawberries, mint, lime juice, ginger juice and ginger beer), which definitely hit the all-illusive sweet spot.

    In case you haven’t been, or even if you have, we highly recommend (re)visiting Lock & Key. They’ve quickly proven themselves to have peerless prohibition cocktails firmly on lockdown. 


    Lock & Key

    239 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004
    (213) 389-5625

    www.underraidar.com/lockandkey

    www.lockandkey.la


    SPEAK SPEAKEASY

    Cockney won’t do you nah good in a speakeasy bar.  Picking’ up the ol’ dog n’ bone ain’t gonna get y'in tha door. If you visit speakeasy bars you need to know how to speak speakeasy.

    Today’s Slangger: Whangdoodle

    How to use it: “They’re getting pretty brassy with all that Whangdoodle down there.”

    Before you get all jazzed up, a word of note from the 1920s is Whangdoodle, which means jazz or a jazz band. Bet you didn’t know that now did you? 

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  • Wet Wednesdays: The Colony Cocktail

    This Wet Wednesday Under Raidar is featuring the classic Prohibition cocktail, The Colony. Named after the Colony Restaurant in New York, where the elite would go during Prohibition for fine dining and fine under the table sipping. This upscale speakeasy was rumored to store alcohol in the elevator in case of any raids. Looks like the Colony knew how to keep it Under Raidar.

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    Colony Cocktail Recipe

    1 ½ oz gin
    ¾ oz grapefruit juice
    2 tsp maraschino

    Shake well with cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.                                                                  

    Cheers from Under Raidar!

    Find top shelf, top secret speakeasy and craft cocktail bars at: www.underraidar.com and ‘Like’ us on Facebook HERE!

    Subscribe to Under Raidar for secret speakeasy bar news, exclusive offers, and exciting prohibition happenings in your city!

  • Wet Wednesdays: French 75 Cocktail

    Wet Mercredi!!

    This Wet Wednesday Under Raidar goes international with the powerful classic cocktail known as the French 75. Oui Oui!

    The French 75 was first stirred up in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris by the famous barman Harry MacElhone. Because of the mighty kick this classic knockout provides, it seemed fitting to name it after the commanding artillery gun, the French 75mm.

    The Under Raidar girls love a robust French 75 in the morning evening. There’s nothing better than a great cocktail WITH champagne! The French 75 does go both ways… Gin or Cognac, but here at Under Raidar we stick with Harry’s O.G recipe of gin.

    Wet Wednesdays French 75 Recipe
    - 2 ounces London dry gin
    - 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
    - ½ ounce lemon juice
    - 5 ounces Brut champagne

    Add all the ingredients except the Champagne to a shaker and fill with ice.
    Shake well and strain into a Champagne flute.
    Top with the Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

    A votre santa!

    Find top shelf, top secret speakeasy and craft cocktail bars at: www.underraidar.com and ‘Like’ us on Facebook HERE!

    Subscribe to Under Raidar for secret speakeasy bar news, exclusive offers, and exciting prohibition happenings in your city!